Population: The population is estimated at 7.9 million
Capital City: Quetta
Area: 347,190 km2
Language: Balochi, Brahui


Balochistan, “the country of the Baloch” presently forms part of the three states of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is strategically situated at the eastern flank of the Middle East, linking the Central Asian states with the Indian subcontinent and the Indian Ocean. The Baloch land served as a buffer zone between ancient empires and during the last few centuries between the Russian areas of influence in Central Asia and British India.


Among the most significant invasions of Balochistan was the Arab incursion in the seventh century AD, which brought far reaching social, religious, economic and political changes in the region. In AD 644 an Arab army under the command of Hakam defeated the combined forces of Makoran and Sindh. The period of Arab rule brought the religion of Islam to the area. The Baloch tribes gradually embraced Islam, replacing their centuries-old Zoroastrian religion.

During the anarchic and chaotic last phases of Arab rule, the Baloch tribes established their own semi-independent tribal confederacies, which were frequently threatened and overwhelmed by the stronger forces and dynasties of surrounding areas. The defeat of Baloch forces at Khabis and Bumpur (modern-day Iranshahr) resulted in the complete victory of the Ghaznavis dynasty over Balochistan. During most of the 12th century southern Balochistan was under the control of the Seljuks, before the arrival of the Moghuls. Towards the beginning of the sixteenth century the Portuguese captured several places along the Makoran coast.

The period from AD 1400 to 1948 is notable for the decline in influence of the surrounding powers over Balochistan and the rise of Baloch influence. The predominance of Baloch socio-political and cultural institutions characterises this period.

Historically, the British occupation of the Baloch State of Kalat in 1839 was perhaps the greatest event and turning point in Baloch history. From the very day British forces occupied Kalat, the destiny of the Baloch changed dramatically. The painful consequences for the Baloch were the partition of their land and perpetual occupation by foreign forces.

The Baloch have been in constant revolt against the domination by Pakistani governments and their policies. The revolt of Prince Abdul Karin in 1948, Baloch rebellion against formation of “one unit” and the demolition of the Baloch state union in 1958-60 and the general uprising in 1973-77 resulted in thousands of deaths and displacements of Baloch tribe.


The plight of Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest, most resource-rich yet least developed province, and the gross human rights violations perpetrated against its people, seldom surfaces in international media channels or decision-making fora. For decades in Balochistan economic exploitation through the plundering of natural resources and the systematic economic, social and political exclusion of indigenous Baloch people have become commonplace. In addition to this, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and an escalating crackdown on freedom of expression, are used as covert tools to brutally repress the Baloch peoples’ peaceful struggle for justice, rights and equality. Through notorious “blasphemy laws” and their abusive implementation, a wide-spanning censorship reigns in Pakistan, denying a voice and persecuting all those considered to be “anti-state” actors. Recently, namely on May 10 2017, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) sent a text message to millions of citizens warning against sharing “blasphemous” content on social media and encouraging people to report such content. Few days later the interior minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan ordered the Federal Investigating Agency to take action against all those dishonouring the Pakistani military on social media. This all points to a general worsening of the situation of freedom of expression, putting peaceful human rights defenders even more at risk.

This intensification of censorship impacts the Baloch people particularly, denied a voice regarding the implementation of the US$46 billion dollar mega project known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), by being excluded from all decision-making processes and silencing any dissenting voice. The mammoth infrastructural project will connect Balochistan’s deep-water Gwadar port China’s Xinjiang – home to the oppressed Uyghurs, thus providing China access to the Arabian Sea. Despite Balochistan’s key geopolitical location and abundant promises of development and employment for the indigenous population, as construction has begun none of these have materialised. In fact, Pakistan’s campaign to implement CPEC has been ruthless, with local inhabitants forcefully cleared and any promise of local governance or job opportunities rendered void by the massive influx of Chinese personnel in the region.  Furthermore, armed forces have been raiding the houses of Baloch activists, keeping women and children captive as part of a larger campaign to silence any opposition to CPEC.


The World Baloch Organisation (WBO) is an international membership organisation, dedicated to defending Balochs' political, social and cultural rights, to preserving their environments and to promoting their right to self-determination.

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